So, Salt Lake City now has a fancy 72-page document outlining a grand vision for the city's future.
A 75-member Futures Commission just finished two years of slaving away and figuring out where the city should be in 20 years in just about every conceivable area - neighborhoods, economy, social services, arts and culture, environment, diversity, crime, transportation, urban design, recreation - whew!The report, publicly presented with much pomp Thursday, is comprehensive, if somewhat squishy. It's hard to come up with hard numbers and exact strategies when dealing with a long-term vision. Those specifics come later.
Which brings us to the $64,000 question: Now what?
Many is the report that, after having been invested with much time, money, countless meetings and long nights of shirtsleeves and strong coffee, is unveiled in grand fashion and lauded by dignitaries and praised as the culmination of the best minds of the time . . . and afterwards placed on a shelf where it gathers dust for the rest of its natural life.
Former Salt Lake Mayor Ted Wilson, chairman of the Futures Commission, said he's anxious that his report avoid that fate.
Although the commission itself is now defunct, its staff director, John Bennett, is on contract with the city through July 1. His job is to keep things going - help government and community implement the plan. What's more, city officials are pondering whether to create a non-profit board whose sole job would be to keep the fires burning.
"We want something that is an action plan," Mayor Deedee Corradini said.
A daunting implementation problem is the plan is so wide-ranging that it will take many and sundry organizations to bring it to pass. This isn't the sort of thing the City Council can just pass an ordinance on.
Consider a sampling of the plan's many recommendations: "Coordinate marketing of all cultural activity." "Motivate and train young people." "Encourage building designs that are human scale." And many more.
"It's not any one entity that can make this happen," Corradini said. Municipal government, business, schools, non-profits, churches, families - all have to have a hand in it.
City Council Chairman Bryce Jolley termed the Futures Commission's output a master plan - of the master plan. It's an overarching vision that, it is hoped, will favorably guide development and change in Salt Lake City for the next 20 years.
Whether that will actually happen or not remains to be seen. Even creating a board to implement the plan has disadvantages - it would be yet another layer of bureaucracy.
But government officials say it would be worth it. "This is a great document," Lt. Gov. Olene Walker said.